Had Ismael Hossein-Zadeh written nothing more than his seven-page snapshot of the God-emboldened narcissism of President George W. Bush, his recent book, The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism, would still be worth its steep purchase price. But, in fact, his larger argument is much more compelling. In essence, the professor of economics at Drake University claims that the United States is currently led by a dangerous narcissistic twit, who's been duped into accelerating the degeneration of post-World War II U.S. militarism into a "parasitic militarism," which might lead to the demise of the republic.
Readers of pages 170-76 will understand immediately how the God-emboldened narcissism of George W. Bush was manipulated to initiate mass murder in Iraq. Many Americans are complicit in his mass murder. After all, it required the votes of some woefully ignorant Americans, affluent Republicans (who know on which side their bread is buttered) and partisan Supreme Court justices to put Bush in office.
Behaving as if their country was a banana republic, they put into the office an unread, ill-traveled, inarticulate, crude, callous, mean-spirited, trouble-making, revenge-seeking, Vietnam-evading, incompetent, loud-mouthed, cheap-shot, but consistently-bailed-out narcissist -- largely because Bush and his propagandists proclaimed he had found God.
Quoting from Hugh Urban, a professor of comparative religion, Mr. Hossein-Zadeh agrees: "The narrative that Bush and his biographers tell is clearly modeled on the prodigal son - the young man who fritters away his early life on alcohol [if not cocaine] and sin, only to find God and return to his rightful place in his father's former occupation." [p. 170]
And although this narrative duped a minority among the electorate, especially evangelical Christians, there is little evidence -- except for giving up the alcohol -- to indicate that finding God actually improved Bush's character. Simply recall how he and the equally flawed and evil Dick Cheney engaged in crude psychological projection in September 2000, while slandering Adam Clymer: Bush said, "There's Adam Clymer - major league a**hole - from the New York Times." Cheney responded, "Yeah, big time." [Jake Tapper, Salon.com, Sept. 04, 2000]
Or simply recall that, in a supposedly private moment just before his national address announcing that war with Iraq had begun, "a camera caught Bush pumping his fist as though instead of initiating a war he had kicked a winning field goal or hit a home run. 'Feels good,' he said." [Paul Waldman, Fraud p. 8] Could he have been more callous?
Arguably, finding God further warped his character. Instead of remaining an unread, ill-traveled, inarticulate, crude, callous, mean-spirited, trouble-making, revenge-seeking, Vietnam-evading, incompetent, loud-mouthed, cheap-shot, but consistenly-bailed-out narcissist, Bush became a narcissist emboldened by the belief that God had called upon him - him! -- to lead the United States.
Moreover, if Bush was narcissistic enough to claim: "I feel like God wants me to run for President. I can't explain it, but I sense my country is going to need me," [p. 171] simply imagine the extent to which his fatally flawed narcissism metastasized after he "won" the White House (and, subsequently, reelection). As Aesop once observed: "The smaller the mind the greater the conceit." [p. 172]
According to Hossein-Zadeh, America's neoconservatives manipulated Bush's Manichaean certitudes about good and evil by presenting the September 11 atrocities as a "lightning bolt" and, thus, a sign indicating Bush's God-given destiny to destroy the evil of terrorism. [p. 172, borrowing from Stephen Sniegoski, "The War on Iraq: Conceived in Israel]
Moreover, "having helped define the president's mission, the military-industrial-Likud-Christian Right interests, working largely through the neoconservative militarists, have taken the most advantage of the thus energized president. By deliberately couching their nefarious objectives in missionary terms, and repeatedly defining their enemies, real or imaginary, in biblical language ('axis of evil, evildoers, good versus evil, day of reckoning,' and the like), they have had no difficulty getting the president to carry out their agenda, including the plan to recast the geopolitical map of the Middle East, starting with the invasion of Iraq." [p. 172]
Did it work? Simply recall candidate Bush's suspicion that God wanted him to be president. Then recall that, on June 4, 2003, President George W. Bush confided to Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas: "God told me to strike at Al Qaeda and I struck them, and then He instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did." [Dilip Hiro, Secrets and Lies, p. 1]
Which raises two questions: (1) Given all the mistakes and failures attending Bush's heinous invasion and, now, unwinnable war, why didn't the same God, who told Bush to "strike at Saddam," also tell him how to achieve certain victory in Iraq? (2) And why shouldn't Americans suspect that Bush's latest plan, the "surge," is nothing more than another neocon manipulation of his God-emboldened narcissism? Republican party operatives and right-wing media pimps might sign on, if only to delay defeat in Iraq until after their President leaves office
After all, as esteemed analyst Anthony Cordesman has observed: "The minimal requirement for a successful U.S. strategy is a relatively stable and secure Iraq, not temporary U.S. military control of Baghdad." Why? Because "the U.S. needs a strategy for all of Iraq, not a single city - particularly when a focus on control of Baghdad could mean leaving most of the country to divide on sectarian and ethnic lines." ["The New Strategy in Iraq: Uncertain Progress Towards an Unknown Goal," Center for Strategic and International Studies, March 14, 2007, p. 4]
Yet, as Professor Hossein-Zadeh warns, the greatest immediate danger to the U.S. and the world does not come from yet another flawed strategy in Iraq, but from the fact that the U.S. still is led by a God-emboldened narcissist, who is divorced from reality and subject to manipulation, especially by Vice President Cheney and the neocons. Thus, he quotes Paul Craig Roberts, who has written: "People with power in their hands who are detached from reality are the most dangerous people of all. The delusional quality of their rantings disarms people from taking them seriously: 'Oh, they couldn't mean that.' But they do." [Pp. 175-76]
Detached from reality? Consider these lies and delusions: Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Saddam's ties to al Qaeda. We will be greeted as liberators. A "Coalition of the Willing." Shock and awe. A liberation, not an occupation. "Dead enders," not an insurgency. Bringing democracy to the Middle East. Mission accomplished. Sectarian violence, not civil war. The "surge" is working.
When the American electorate finally came to its senses in November 2006 and registered its opposition to the war in Iraq by evicting the complicit Republican-controlled Congress that practiced stay-the-course bootlicking rather than critical oversight of Bush's war, delusional Bush responded with his neocon-inspired "surge," an escalation of his war in Iraq. Similarly, when the Iraq Study Group recommended a diplomatic offensive, to include Iran and Syria, as well as "a change in the primary mission of U.S. forces in Iraq that will allow the United States to move forces out responsibly" ["Iraq Study Group: Change Iraq strategy now," CNN, Dec. 6, 2006], delusional Bush responded with his "surge."